Terroir: Finding where you are in a glass of wine

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

I’ll never forget my first glass of good red wine. It happened while I was in college, full of heady independence and curiosity. It helped that I had this glass with a dear girlfriend named Dawn. Dawn knew the chef of a small, hole-in-the-wall, jewel of a restaurant tucked away in the parking lot of a boat-launch site. He pointed us in the direction of the right wine for our dinner. I am forever grateful for that first, extraordinary introduction.
The wine was a Wild Horse Pinot Noir, and two things happened when I drank it. First, my eyes sprung wide open to the way wine amplifies the pleasure of a meal. Second, the wine was produced near where I lived at the time, and I was blown away by its ability to encapsulate that place.
Called “terroir” in French, a sense of place is what I believe makes wine a mainstay in the life of any true bon vivant. The way a bottle of wine exists as a time capsule of the geography, climate and geology of where it was produced is delicious and – pardon the pun – intoxicating.

The notion of terroir may be intimidating at first. Imagine the ability to blind taste a wine and accurately call out where, when and what it was from. But terroir can be as comfortable as recognizing a village you’ve visited just by seeing a photo of the surrounding hills. Once you have a sense of a place, you can taste that place in the wine you drink.
For the rest of the story, head over to the Los Altos Town Crier.
savannah-chanelle is a shining example of santa cruz mountains terroir


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